MICHIGAN LEMON LAWS: Requirements & What It Covers


The Michigan Lemon Laws hold manufacturers accountable for selling defective used cars. It specifies that if you buy or lease a lemon, you have the option of receiving a refund or a replacement vehicle. The company is also responsible for paying your attorney’s fees and any other costs you had to pay because of the lemon, such as for a rental car or towing.

Michigan Lemon Laws

The Michigan Lemon Laws cover private passenger vehicles that were bought or rented for personal, family, or household use. In some circumstances, the law also applies to commercial vehicles. On the other hand, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, motor homes, and bigger trucks are not allowed.

To be considered a lemon, the car must have a fault or condition that reduces its value or use. The issue must be reported to the manufacturer within one year of the delivery date for the warranty to apply. If the manufacturer is unable to resolve the problem after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the consumer is entitled to a full refund or a similar replacement.

Before your vehicle is considered a lemon, you must disclose the issue in writing to the manufacturer.  At this point, the manufacturer can send you to a nearby repair facility where they will have one last chance to resolve the problem. If the problem persists after this final attempt, you’ve got a lemon on your hands.

Understanding Michigan Lemon Laws Used Cars

The Michigan lemon laws protect consumers who are making one of the largest transactions of their lives: used cars.

The Michigan lemon laws protect buyers who buy defective used cars unintentionally. The law applies to any vehicle classified as a passenger vehicle, including SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans. Buses, semi-trucks, and motor homes are not covered by Michigan lemon laws.

A “new motor vehicle” in Michigan is one that was purchased or leased in Michigan or by a Michigan resident and was covered by a manufacturer’s express warranty at the time of purchase or lease. Michigan lemon laws also apply to used cars that have been transferred during the manufacturer’s express warranty period.

The Michigan lemon laws apply to consumers who buy or lease a new vehicle for personal, family, or household use rather than selling or leasing it to someone else. It applies to persons who buy or lease fewer than ten vehicles per year. If they buy ten or more vehicles each year, the vehicles cannot be used for business purposes. The individual must be able to enforce the requirements of an explicit warranty by the conditions of that warranty.

The lemon law applies to any flaw or condition that inhibits the consumer’s use or value of a new car. It also covers any condition that prevents the vehicle from meeting the manufacturer’s express warranty conditions. However, the law does not cover any problems caused by modifications made to the vehicle by someone other than the manufacturer. It also does not cover flaws or conditions caused by abuse, neglect, or an accident that occurs after the purchase or lease of the new vehicle.

Michigan Lemon Laws Apply to these Vehicles

The state’s Lemon Law, according to the Michigan Department of Attorney General, applies to cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans purchased or leased by Michigan residents. The purchase or lease of these passenger vehicles is not required to take place in Michigan; nevertheless, the manufacturer’s express warranty must be current when they are acquired. Other than the vehicles listed above, the law does not apply to motorbikes, off-road vehicles, RVs or motor homes, buses, or trucks.

The Lemon Law normally does not apply to used vehicles unless they are “protected by a manufacturer’s express warranty at the time of purchase or lease” and the owner reports the problems to the manufacturer or an authorized dealer within a year of the initial owner receiving the vehicle.

The Lemon Law of Michigan also applies to humans. A person can be an individual, a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation, an association, or another legal organization, such as a unit or agency of government, a trust, or an estate, as defined by the state. Regarding the lemon law, this individual:

  • Purchases or leases a motor vehicle for personal, family, or household use and does not sell or lease it to another individual.
  • Buys or leases fewer than ten new vehicles every year.
  • Purchases or leases more than ten new motor vehicles every year for personal, family, or residential use solely.
  • Can enforce the express warranty requirements by the warranty’s terms.

Returning the Vehicle Following the Purchase

Some individuals believe that under the lemon law, they have the right to return the vehicle within three days of purchasing or leasing it, but this is not the case. In Michigan, there is no “cooling-off period,” and the state’s contract law generally does not allow consumers to cancel a sale. According to the Attorney General, there are some very limited exceptions for contract cancellation. A dealership may provide a consumer with an extended test drive, allowing them to take a vehicle home for a short period before purchase, but this has nothing to do with contract law.

Michigan Lemon Laws allow consumers to return their vehicle for a refund or replacement, but only after a fair number of repair attempts have been made. Of course, this will take place over more than three days following the purchase or lease of the car.

Problems or Defects Covered by the Michigan Lemon Laws

The state of Michigan covers any flaw or condition that reduces the value or use of a new vehicle and prevents it from conforming to the express guarantee of the vehicle manufacturer. It does not cover defects or issues caused by non-manufacturer modifications or installations. It also does not cover abuse or neglect by the owner, or damages originating from an accident that occurs after the purchase or lease.

A person with a defective used car can seek restitution under the Michigan Lemon Laws by reporting the problem to the manufacturer or authorized dealer during the warranty period or up to a year from the date of delivery to the initial purchaser, whichever comes first. If the manufacturer is informed of the defect promptly, they must undertake vehicle repairs, even if they cannot do so until after the manufacturer’s express warranty has expired.

Reasonable Number of Repairs

Used autos must have an unreasonable repair record while under warranty to qualify under Michigan Lemon Laws. If a manufacturer promises to repair the vehicle but is unable to do so after a certain number of attempts, the consumer may be entitled to a refund of the purchase or lease price.

The state defines when a reasonable attempt to solve the problem occurs if either of the following conditions is met:

  • The same problem continues even though the manufacturer attempted repairs four or more times within two years of the first effort.
  • The vehicle is out of operation for more than 30 full or partial days due to repairs covered by the manufacturer’s express warranty or up to a year from the initial owner’s delivery date, whichever comes first. This does not require the same problem to keep the vehicle off the road for several days.

Does the Michigan Lemon Laws Cover Used Cars?

The Michigan Lemon Laws may not apply to all used cars, but they do apply to some used vehicles. The Michigan Lemon Laws apply to vehicles covered by the manufacturer’s express guarantee, therefore the legislation may apply to used cars that also fit the lemon law’s requirements. For example, if a used vehicle is still protected by a valid manufacturer’s guarantee and a problem occurs during the warranty period or within a year of sale to the original customer, the vehicle may be covered by the lemon law.

Furthermore, consumers who buy used vehicles may be eligible for protection under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. This is a federal statute that controls consumer goods sales and covers both explicit and implicit warranties. If a consumer purchases a used (or new) vehicle with a warranty, the dealership that sold the vehicle and/or the manufacturer whose guarantee is still in effect must follow this legislation.

If a dealership that sells a used (or new) vehicle and/or the manufacturer of the vehicle fails to meet their obligations under a warranty that they provided to the consumer who bought the vehicle, the consumer may be able to file suit under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and recover statutory damages, actual damages, and, if appropriate, reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs from the dealership and/or manufacturer.

Is there a lemon law on used cars?

No, but because Michigan lemon laws define a “new car” as one that is still “protected by a manufacturer’s explicit warranty at the time of purchase or lease,” it may apply to a used car that fits those requirements. If you bought your car from a used car dealer, you can register a complaint with the Bureau of Information Security, Regulatory Monitoring Division.

What qualifies for Michigan lemon law?

The Michigan Lemon Laws apply to any flaw or condition that reduces the consumer’s usage or value of a new motor vehicle or precludes the new motor vehicle from adhering to the manufacturer’s explicit guarantee.

Is there a lemon law for used cars in Michigan?

No, but because Michigan lemon laws define a “new car” as one that is still “protected by a manufacturer’s express warranty at the time of purchase or lease,” it may apply to a used car that fits those requirements.

How long is the lemon law in Michigan?

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which applies in all states, permits you to submit a claim for up to four years after the breach of your warranty. In the case of cars, this often implies that you have four years following the first failed repair effort to bring a claim.

Can you return a vehicle after purchase in Michigan?

Yes. As the buyer or lessee, you have the option of requesting a refund or accepting a comparable replacement vehicle that is presently in production.

What qualifies a car as a lemon?

In most areas, a car qualifies as a “lemon” if it has a serious defect covered by the warranty.

How many times before a car is a lemon?

In most cases, four unsuccessful attempts to repair the same fault within 18 months or 18,000 miles will classify your vehicle as a lemon. Your vehicle may also qualify as a “lemon” if it is in the shop for more than 30 days within these parameters.


Your legal rights are limited in a used vehicle deal. You may have a right of action for fraud if a seller lies to you about a very specific and material fact. Contact your lawyer if a seller conceals known flaws from you or if you believe you have been duped.

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies as a lemon car in California?

Several attempts at repair have been made: After four or more efforts, the manufacturer or dealer has not resolved the same issue. If you drive your car, the defects could result in death or serious physical harm, and the manufacturer or dealer has made at least two unsuccessful repair attempts.

What does it mean if a car is determined to be a lemon?

A “lemon” is a car that has a serious problem or malfunction that renders it unsafe to drive, though the exact description varies by state. Non-functioning or malfunctioning brakes, engines, transmissions, or lights are examples.

What cars are most likely to be lemons?

Certain vehicle brands, however, appear to fare better than others in terms of lemon production.

List of Vehicle Manufacturers with the Highest Number of Lemons in 2022:

  • Porsche.
  • Jeep.
  • Volkswagen.
  • Subaru.
  •  Land Rover.
  • GMC.
  • Dodge.
  • Volvo.
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